Long-standing landfill air pollution dispute heads to federal appeals court

Should state and federal regulators consider the Ontario County Landfill to be one or two separate entities for purposes of air-pollution permits?

That question was raised eight years ago — and it’s still winding its way through the court system.

The latest development is a hearing before the U.S. 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals in New York City. Arguments are slated to begin at 10 a.m. April 30.

Finger Lakes Zero Waste Coalition has argued the 389-acre landfill and Seneca Energy II, the methane-powered, electricity-generating plant on the property, should be deemed under common control and considered as one entity in terms of a Title V air discharge permit.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has ruled each as separate entities that have their own air-discharge permits.

Being one entity under common control would impose more stringent pollution discharge levels than if the two are considered separate.

Zero Waste is appealing a September 2016 EPA ruling stating that the landfill and Seneca Energy II are separate entities for the purposes of air-emission permits. Coalition president Doug Knipple said he will accompany legal counsel Gary Abraham to New York for the hearing.

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